WACO, Texas – The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District is currently monitoring a suspected case of the 2019 novel coronavirus involving a Baylor University student who traveled to China this year.
Testing for the virus was conducted on January 23, and samples are in route to the CDC. The district is awaiting results at this time, and is already working with Baylor University, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and our local health care providers to take immediate action according to the best practices outlined by the CDC and to provide a coordinated response.
The rapidly spreading Coronavirus is causing concerns and changing plans.
“They don’t really know where its from. They don’t know the origin of it so they can’t really cure it until they know how it came to be,” said one student.
“They were going to spend a semester there in China next year but they’re plans kind of changed because of this whole thing,” another student recalled.
Juan Hernandez, an out-of-state student at Baylor has been in constant contact with his family back home who share their concern as well.
“My mother and my uncles and aunts would call me and tell me to wash my hands. They watch the news and see. They just tell me to stay away from all the stuff that can get you sick. Just keep your body healthy and wash your hands and do all the normal things,” Hernandez said.
A student on the track team at Baylor is heading to her track meet tomorrow at Texas A&M a lot more cautious since the reports of a possible coronavirus there just a few days ago.
“They’ve warned us to make sure that we’re covering out mouths, if there’s people coughing around, just be mindful of it. Really wash hands. That’s really important to them,” said the Baylor athlete.
A student-employee at the gym on campus says she recieved a few precautionary instructions from her boss.
“My boss at the gym texted us today because of the reports of the Coronavirus and just said make sure yall are washing your hands extra well and wiping down the equipment and keeping everything super clean,” she said.
Another student says she’s already getting her plan together for when she returns back to class Monday.
“Be very aware of everything that’s around me and like be careful when I’m picking out my food and stuff and try not to share food and drinks or anything like that,” she told FOX 44.
While the risk to the general public is low, the district is working to identify all those who may have come in contact with the suspected case. These individuals will be monitored for fever and respiratory symptoms if the case is positive.
The district says the patient is doing well with minimal symptoms, and has been asked to self-isolate. Baylor University is working with the patient to ensure that needs are being met during this self-isolation period.
As a precaution, anyone with the respiratory symptoms who was in Wuhan on or after December 1, 2019 and has onset of illness within two weeks of leaving, should seek medical attention.
Baylor University released this statement about the student:
Working through a coordinated response with the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District and following guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Baylor moved the individual to an isolated room on campus as a precaution. Facility Services also thoroughly sanitized the student’s residence hall room, as well as the residence hall where the individual lived. The student is being monitored by Baylor, state and local health officials. The University also is working with the student to make sure needs are being met during the isolation period.
Baylor continues to work closely with University Health Services, the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District and state and federal health officials.”Baylor University
Signs and symptoms of this illness include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. This novel coronavirus has the potential to cause severe disease and death. Preliminary information suggests older adults and people with underlying health conditions or compromised immune systems may be at higher risk of severe illness from this virus. Many characteristics of this novel coronavirus and how it may affect people are still unclear.
Source: Waco McLennan County Public Health District